Pork industry faces dramatic decline

The pork industry continues to slide with livestock breeders experiencing a 6% drop in output last year alone • Output for sheep products jumps up

A story of two animals: Output from the sheep industry increased by 22% since 2014, while that from the pig industry dropped by 34%
A story of two animals: Output from the sheep industry increased by 22% since 2014, while that from the pig industry dropped by 34%

The pork industry continued to face the chop last year with figures out today showing a decline of 6.3% in output.

The output from pork products stood at €9.6 million in 2018, a decline of €644,000 over the previous year, according to the National Statistics Office.

Pork was the only livestock sector to experience a significant decline last year. Beef registered a minimal drop of less than half a percentage point.

However, the decline in the pork industry has been consistent over the years, with NSO figures showing that since 2014, output declined by a whopping 34%.

Pig breeders have long complained of tough competition from cheaper foreign produce that is outpricing them from the market.

But what spells out as bad news for the pork industry, is good news for those who breed sheep and goats.

Although the sheep sector is the smallest in terms of output, last year alone it experienced the highest increase.

Output was recorded at €426,000 in 2018, a 9.9% increase on the previous year. But a longer-term view shows that since 2014, the sheep and goat sector saw its output increase by a significant 22%.

Rabbits remained the largest production sector, recording an output of €19.2 million in 2018, an increase of 5.2%.

Since 2014, the output for the rabbit industry registered a 3.9% increase.

The poultry sector experienced a turnaround last year, recording an increase of 4.8%. This came on the back of yearly decreases in output.

The positive result, however, was not enough to reverse years of decline, with the poultry sector recording a 3.9% drop in output since 2014.

Agriculture value added down

The NSO figures showed that the gross value added of the agricultural sector as a whole registered a drop of 3.5%, to settle at €57.3 million.

The sector’s net operating surplus increased to €71.4 million on the back of financial aid through EU-funded programmes. The aid amounted to €25.4 million, the NSO said.

Farmers and livestock breeders had to contend with higher livestock feeding expenses, and energy and fuel costs.

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